Life and Achieving Happiness

Earlier today I watched a TedTalk about happiness in life. In summary, Harvard University conducted the longest running study of 700+ men over the course of their life and studied what led those to have happy lives. (This study has spanned over 70 years!) Those that were happy were not void of struggles or trials but the common denominator was that they had surrounded themselves with authentic relationships and had a greater sense of community; with their friends, family and their surrounding community at large. I started thinking about that concept today with regard to me, my life struggles, my present and my future.

I am 90 days away from my wedding, from a starting a new chapter in my life. And although my life has been far from perfect or free from struggle and trials; TODAY I am rejoicing in those. I can so clearly see the beauty in my journey. And I somehow knew that one day I would have this kind of vision when I looked back upon the treacherous and long journey that Divorce has taken me on. Has it been hard – absolutely! The hardest. No sugar coating that fact. And it wasn’t just hard on me, it was hard on the ones I love the most – my children – which in turn added more pressure on me to get it right. This blog has been my therapy. I can look back and see every emotion, every valley I walked through, poured out into each post. AND now I can see the bigger picture – the 10,000 foot view and I can count the blessings that came from that arduous journey – the many life lessons that I learned and the wisdom that is inevitably gained by experiencing it.

What I am most proud of is that even though I had my moments of grief (and they were never easy) I persevered!!!! I overcame!!! One moment at a time. Some times I would take 5 steps forward and 10 steps back, in the beginning I probably lost more ground than I gained. BUT I never stopped striving for the life I knew I wanted – and I knew what I wanted it to look like. Looking back at all the pictures that documented all my adventures, friendships and family time – I achieved it – I have actually arrived! I have traveled all over the world (OMG too many places to list), I have surrounded myself with some amazing friends and friendships – always open to adding to my circle (I love people). And the cherry on top is the LOVE and PARTNERSHIP that I finally found. I just wouldn’t settle for anything mediocre or less than what I knew I wanted and my family needed. And to be honest, I knew this piece of my life (my love life) whoever it ended up being – I would have to fight for. Fight against what I had been programmed to believe was a normal relationship, fight against the guilt and shame of divorce and not providing my children an intact family, even fight against those few that for one reason or another didn’t support or want the relationship to move to the next level. I was determined because if you know Dean – his love for me and our relationship is worth fighting for.

So those who may think that my life is by happenstance you, my friend would be wrong. My life as a whole just doesn’t happen with luck – it is purposeful movement and decisions toward the goal I set way long ago in 2015!

My life, just like those men in the Harvard study will continue to have struggles and grief and trials throughout my entire life – That is a definite truth. However, just like those that achieved a lifetime of happiness, I will walk in their footsteps and embrace the truths that have been studied and proven. I love the relationships that I have and will continue to purposefully nurture them – they are life, love and happiness for me! I am ready to close this chapter of my life and begin a new one – one with an amazing man by my side!

Parting thoughts: Never settle….Deal with your issues… open to change even if it feels different, different doesn’t always equal bad, sometimes its just different….forgive often….embrace life – even the bad stuff, because that’s where the growth happens!

Christmas 2020 is coming…

What a year we have had. 2020 did not turn out the way anybody thought it would. Pandemic, Tiger King, Murder Hornets, Evacuations, 2 Hurricanes and Insurance Adjuster nightmares. And as we approach the end of this year I am trying to find some perspective on what this year taught me.

I have blogged about the upside (if you can call it that) of what the Pandemic brought – and the word that continues to come to mind is togetherness. We spent alot of time together as a family – good quality time. And just as things were beginning to become a little more normal – we got the opposite of normal in our corner of the world. Devastation, Destruction, and Debris – the 3 D’s but again I see that this abnormal circumstance in our reality leads to more togetherness. And who can really be mad about that.

As we move into the last quarter of 2020 my focus is on the holidays. I decided that since my Christmas tree makes me super happy I went ahead and put it up – even before Halloween – because at this point in 2020 – Why Not? I also told my children that for Christmas they will be getting only 3 gifts. Now one would think that this would cause quite a stir among kids – not mine. For my children, they know I come up with some grandiose hoop jumping hoopla that they must do Christmas morning in order to get their gifts. Last year it was a scavenger hunt that required them to retrieve presents that were hanging from the willow tree at my moms and some that were floating in the pool. For my children I don’t think they even remember what they got as their gifts – they just remember the fun and crazy things I make them do before they get them. This year is no different and they can rest assured I have something pretty Grand up my sleeve. But what struck the most is that in making their Christmas lists none of them could come up with 3 things they wanted. When it really got down to it – nobody really wants for anything this year. They want for togetherness – they want for the fun of Christmas morning my house is known for – they want for family.

This year has stripped away the need to have things. Because in a quarantined Pandemic none of the stuff really matters. And what stuff I do have – the hurricanes threatened to take all of that away – and yet although I worried about that – my first priority was that my family was safe. Because at the end of the day – if we remove all of things we have – it really is just about togetherness.

The things of this world are fleeting and can be taken away in a heartbeat. Always remember what’s important #togetherness2020


Where do I even start? I have so much I want to say. I mean, let’s see…. COVID-19 pandemic, catastrophic hurricane Laura, school, the presidential debate 🤦‍♀️…. like where should I start, how do I formulate my thoughts into a complete and coherent sentence or thought for that matter….

So much has changed in 2020, so much has been taken away, destroyed and I don’t see an end to the chaos anytime in the near future.

It almost seems a bit selfish of me to blog about any of my personal life struggles so I’ll spare you for now.

So what is the purpose of this post? Since I can’t really pick 1 topic, here is a sampling of what’s going on in my head:

  • Hurricane Laura was obviously very mad when she hit my beautiful community as she destroyed it like I’ve never seen before
  • I wonder how long will it take for our community to recover…. Hurricane Rita took years! Buckle up it’s going to be a long journey back.
  • I’m thankful that after 7 months my children have gone back to school. Doesn’t seem like a long time in the big picture but for those kids that need special services to help learning…7 months is a long time to be without and it sets us back potentially even further.
  • I hate fighting traffic with all of the big trucks and construction workers in town to get across town to soccer practice…. but it’s a piece of normal I’ll fight for
  • My children act better than our politicians on both sides. Low blows, name calling and blatant disrespect…. it’s shameful. Leaders needs to lead, empower, encourage and unite… if you can’t do that then sit down and let a true leader take over.
  • Covid is real, no doubt, but I refuse to sit home scared. I live a very healthy lifestyle and my travels will resume starting next weekend.
  • October birthdays are here and it’s an exciting time, I have a teenager in my house once again. Oh joy!!!
  • Not having internet access really does affect every aspect of the life we live these days, especially when one runs their entire business online! The struggle has been real.
  • I still miss my dad like crazy…especially with all this chaos going on.
  • I am really hopeful that there will be a high school and college basketball season. I need it! (Who cares about the NBA 🙄)
  • I don’t sleep well these days, my mind is constantly racing, but in the middle of the night is when I do my best praying.
  • My children have no real concept of the devastation that hurricane Laura brought. The day after the storm they were asking me to take them to get ice cream when the whole town had no water or power.
  • There are different rules when a natural disaster hits…. meaning you make sure family, neighbors and other people are ok regardless of any baggage that’s between you or how busy or How much damage you have.
  • Stress makes me act out and sometimes it’s not so nice. Ask Dean, he’s had to deal with Hurricane Melissa.
  • When I am overwhelmed I am not a good communicator especially with those I love, but I get shit done!
  • I’m thankful that instacart grocery delivery is still operational even with the hurricane recovery.

I hope at some point the thoughts swirling around in my head will fall into some sort of order. Enough to where I can process everything that has happened and then start blogging and my writings make sense. Until then…. stay safe, be kind to one another, and pray for our community.

The uncharted waters of a pandemic

When the cornonavirus first came onto the scene in the USA none of us had a clue how our lives would be changed and for how long we would be living this altered universe nightmare.  As these crazy times roll forward with new information added from officials on a daily basis, the media frenzy of blow by blow gloom and doom of the virus and new mandates that change our basic way of life – I have struggled.  Struggled with what the life I so purposefully built will now look like.  I have struggled with how to protect my children, especially the one of the bunch that is the most vulnerable.  I have struggled with the setbacks of the girls school year and what it will look like when and even if they return to school.  I am sure my struggles are very similar to others in our country.  And I have struggled for perspective – how can i live my best life with the hand I’ve been dealt.  Once again, just like with divorce – I am left to find a new normal – a new way of life.

And to be very honest, I have been resistant to change, resistant to the reality that life as I once knew it is gone forever – I want it back. But just like with all things, after the temper tantrum I throw is over, I try to find perspective on the situation.  And here is what I have come up with.

Life is different, but as I am well aware of – different isn’t always bad – its just different.  Throughout the last 6 months I have gotten to experience the best family quality time ever.  All of my kids have been home (which I love) and because we are stuck at home we have had to make the most of idle time.  Puzzles, nerf wars, cooking, board games, volleyball.  We have had some great times making the best memories.  And oh the spirited debates we have over topics such as Masks, Vaccines, immune systems, Politics, etc.  It offers great comedic relief as we all banter back and forth.

I fully realize how my life would just not be the same without my friends.  They offer so much connection and joy in my life.  And as the old saying goes – absence makes the heart grow fonder – well its certainly true – I miss them dearly and when we do have an opportunity to get together, I can feel the sheer exuberance and excitement of being together even if we are social distancing outside having a conversation or riding our bikes or having a meal together.  I do long for the days when our visits are more frequent and we can see each other more regularly.

Lastly and certainly not least – I am learning to be ok with life at a slow pace, learning to recognize the extraordinary in the simple and small everyday things.  And if life is THIS for the rest of my days – I will grieve a bit for what once was but I will also embrace the beauty in a slow and simple life.  I have also embraced that doing life with a partner like Dean and having a beautiful relationship like we do – makes life in general fun and exciting – even in the simplest of interactions or the mundanes of everyday life.  I have been super focused on getting fit and eating healthy and to have my partner cheering me on and joining me in physical activities such as biking, running, tennis swimming, etc makes life even sweeter.

Just to close…. this virus, economic shut down sucks – don’t get me wrong.  I hate it and empathize with small business owners like me and employees that are now unemployed or furloughed just like everyone else.  I just can’t live in that “Mad at the World” bubble for long.  I recognize it and must find a way of doing life and not wasting anymore time worrying and fretting over what I certainly can not fix.  I will do what we can do for now and enjoy it to the fullest and If at the end of the day back porch afternoons with Dean and the kids is all I have….. then I will gladly take it. (but i am fervently praying that I can resume traveling one day lol)



Update on Mom

Many of you have asked me about my Mom and how she is doing these days without my dad, so I thought I would pen a post about her.  I won’t lie, at first it was extremely difficult for her and I would imagine she still has her dark days – Death is brutal you know and grief takes you on a long journey of which none of us are equipped for.  And for me it has been heartbreaking and painful to watch her battle that grief – Soulmates and life partners separated by death – it brings tears to my eyes even typing it.

BUT in her difficult journey – adding insult to injury – a Pandemic comes along- one that requires everyone to isolate and quarantine.  Let me just say, that mixture can magnify the grief and the fact that you are alone.  Most would have buckled, given up…. but not my mom. As she says, we come from a long line of survivors!

She has had a resolve within her to continue to live her best life – as she is a young 70 something and has a good number of years left on this earth.  She still works part time, is very physically active and refuses to hire someone to tend to her yard work.  She told me shortly after my dad died that she would not refuse any invitation – if invited she would go – and she has held true to that.  Going to dinners with friends and family, girl trips out of town, and even playing tennis (she is still a beast on the court).  She has even traveled with my family on vacation – even when she knew it wouldn’t feel right – she muscled through it and managed to enjoy herself through her tears.  Even though this has to be the most painful thing she has ever gone through she has kept her spirits high  – she is rebuilding her life and making plans for lots more travel and time with friends (after the pandemic of course).

One silver lining to the pandemic is that life has slowed down for me and my bunch.  I am around more and my littles spend many hours at her house – cooking, sewing, gardening and just chilling with her.  She is even able to see the bigs as they are working from home.

And let me mention my parent’s wonderful friends – that have embraced her, checked on her and invite her.  The community of people they so loved have shown up and continue to do so.  That kind of friendship and loyalty you cannot put a price on.

I am so proud of her – never letting even her grief or coronavirus ever dampen her light, remaining steadfast and positive.  Even finding it within her to encourage others in their times of trouble.

My dad is certainly smiling down on her and I know that he is grateful that she is doing good – not that he ever thought any different – he knew her well!

If you are reading this and you have someone that you know is alone, whether widowed or divorced, reach out – The isolation of all that is going on can be hard.  Let’s pass on some love!  The world definitely needs it.




A New Father’s Day Perspective

I’ve been silent for several months dealing with many things – the Covid stay at home order being front and center. Some good things have come from me being forced to sit still – A lot of family time, soul searching and really dealing with some baggage I carry from my past – as we all do (that’s for another post).   I’ve been quiet on social media as well to just allow myself a little time out of the spotlight.  Life got a little crazy at the beginning of this year but I have emerged on this most important day with something to say.

Father’s Day is forever changed for me.  Without my dad to celebrate I am left to celebrate his memory and I will forever compare the other men in my life to see how they measure up to my dad.  This post focus’s on one important man in my life that is a dad.  Dean…..

Dean and I spent the weekend with his boys at the river.  Throughout the weekend I watched Dean and his interactions with his boys.  I tend to think deeply about small interactions and the seeds that they plant.  And like I said I am comparing Dean as a Dad to my dad.  And here is what this weekend (and everyday life with Dean) revealed:

– Dean Loves his children – authentically and fully loves those boys

– He embraces life with 2 little boys which at times requires you to wear a wrestling referee shirt – as they fight and wrestle – I’m sure as most brothers do.

– He cares about what life lessons he is teaching them and wants them to be grounded in the simplicity of life and not caught up in “things”.  He wants them to learn that experiences are far better than that $50 toy.

– He takes time to teach them about things that boys need to know how to do – such as how to throw and set an anchor on a boat, how to assemble something with tools., etc.  He even takes time to explain the many “why” questions his boys ask – like why is that house left abandoned on the river or why can’t I watch a particular you tube video.  He wants them to understand fully the ways of the world.

– He not only loves his boys – He loves my children – all 4.  He makes it a point to have positive interactions with each, especially my littles.   He is careful and considerate to never overstep his role within their lives and feels so blessed and honored that his life’s path led him to be part of their lives.

-His goal is to model and be an example of what a stable, loving and healthy relationship looks like for all of our children.  It is of utmost importance to him.

– And much like my dad, who never sat me down to teach me all the things he did – he just modeled it in the way he lived his life – Dean is passionately working to leave a similar legacy for his children (and mine) of a life well lived.

– He doesn’t always get it right, this parenting thing (but who of us ever gets it right all the time) but he is humble enough to listen and learn when wisdom is offered and never ever gives up – he just keeps persevering.

I thought it was worthy this Father’s Day to highlight someone in my life that is doing it right – It makes me think of my dad and the legacy he left me.  I feel very grateful this Father’s Day…. Grateful that my dad and I had such a beautiful relationship and that I have no regrets..  I am also grateful that in his absence I have someone else in my life that measures up in terms of being a Father, as well as is willing to stand in the gap with my children just as my father did with them.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dad out there.  Hug your children, put moments with them in front of things and leave a legacy, its powerful!



It has been 365 days since you left this earth and my life.  365 days.  It seems like only yesterday since I heard your voice and yet seems like forever all at the same time.  I don’t have a lot of words for this day, 365 days later.  It still hurts the same, the void is just as big and I still haven’t recovered.

I was privileged to be his daughter – he was a great daddy!  I was privileged for him to have been there when I took my first breath and even more privileged to have been there when he took his last.  I miss him with every ounce of my being, every day, for the last 365 days.


I have decided that me and my family will honor him and carry on a piece of him on this most difficult day.  We will rejoice in the legacy he leaves behind through playing a little driveway basketball tournament and thinking about him with every bounce of the ball and basket made.

If you have a spare moment, send a prayer my mothers way – the void of him is even bigger for her…..

What I wouldn’t do for 5 more minutes with him………


Happy New Year…

We are turning a page to not only a new year but a new decade.  I am taking stock of what 2019 brought and all I have accomplished, survived and overcame.  All in All 2019 was a good year.  Looking forward to the new year and new decade I want something different.  The last few years were about survival and regaining my footing in this crazy life.  Life has normalized a bit and my focus in life is now shifting.

No new years resolutions for me – it has always been 1 word themes for what I want my year to look like.  2020 is the year of humbleness.  The perspective that I have gained through my struggles, the overwhelming fact of how abundantly blessed I am and how I have been quite self absorbed (rightfully so) the last few years have given me a burning desire for 2020 to be more than just about me – I want this year to be filled with humility, humbleness, service to others and a spirit of giving.

I have talked to my children and we are on a quest to make a difference and give back – to be humble servants in our community.  As my littles were once part of the population of the forgotten – we will focus our giving efforts on those that society often forgets – the elderly, orphans, children in foster care and we will strive to make an impact.  As I always say….. I cannot do everything. but just because I cannot do everything I Will Not refuse to do something.  And we will be doing something, many things all year – big and small.

I am excited once again what the new year brings.  I am most excited about the opportunity for me and my family to serve others and the blessings that doing so will bring us.  Happy New Year!


A look back at 2019

What a year!  When I look through all of my photos and memories of 2019 – I just keep saying “what a year it has been”.  Before I began this post I re-read my New Years Post from earlier this year – just to gain a perspective of what I was anticipating 2019 to look like.  Reading that post, I smiled thinking all that I had hoped for has been delivered in 2019 and then some.  Although I was stopped in my tracks in April with the deafening loss of my dad, I soldiered on and made 2019 a year to remember.

From College Graduation, the start of middle school, giving back to my community, amazing travels, growth in my business, to a healing of a family, an engagement and a wonderful holiday season.  What more could I ask for?!

I just keep looking at the big picture of 2019 and think WOW – how far I have come and what a beautiful life I now have.  2019 theme’s was perseverance and preserved I have.  I pushed through to capture everything GOD had in store for me this year.  He has been so faithful!  Perseverance isn’t mastered overnight – it is the will to keep going, putting one foot in front of the other (despite what your facing) through whatever time you have to – to get to what you want. And I finally feel like I have “arrived” so to speak.  Although there is more to do – 2020 will see a shift in my direction again – stay tuned for 2020 New Years post.  But today, before we turn that page and march on to a new year – I just wanted to take a final look at what 2019 became….. and it was good.






Every year like clock work I write a post reflecting on what I have to be thankful for.  This year is no different.  And what a year of things to be thankful for.  Where do I even begin.

I am thankful for:

– Adoption.  November is National Adoption Awareness Month and it always makes me even more keenly aware of the beauty of adoption and what it means to my family.

– Travel.  The ability to travel all over the world and especially with my family enjoying beautiful experiences and making memories.  Some people live their entire lives wanting to travel and see the world and never get to as they age, get sick or just don’t have the funds.


– Friends and family.    My amazing friend group and inner circle of family who has stood in the gap for me time after time and who always stand by my side.  I love them with all my heart and am so blessed to have each of them in my life.

– Mended Fences.  For 5 years prayers were storming the Heavens for healing, forgiveness and kindness to be commonplace with me and my ex.  We have finally made it.  Forgiveness is beautiful and our relationship is how it should be.  We are able to finally enjoy the family we built together in peace and unity.


– My bigs significant others.  Both Collin and Emily love my children the way I prayed that someone would.  They embrace our crazy family and love each of us. They bring out the best in my Bigs and I see the love my Bigs have for them.  Its everything I prayed it would be.  They bring so much into this family and  I love them just as I love my own.


– My beautiful children.  I AM SO PROUD OF WHO EACH OF THEM ARE!  I could write a blog post just about how amazing they are and how big I love them!  I’m thankful for who they have become and are becoming and the relationship I have with each one!


– My person.  Dean loves me and everything about me – even the not so flattering moments I sometimes have. I am so thankful for our lives together and that he will forever be by my side, walking with me through life.


– Laughter.  Laughter is sometimes the best mechanism for joy in your life.  I’m thankful dean and I enjoy so much laughter in our relationship!


– New additions.  2 sweet little boys and a new extended family that has welcomed me and mine with open arms. I am thankful for each one of them and look so forward to more time together in the future!


And last but certainly not least……

– I am immensely thankful for the long list of memories I have of my dad and that I have absolutely no regrets… He loved me and I knew it…. I fiercely loved him and he knew it!

Thankful… it’s a big word this year! Hug your peeps, love them fiercely, embrace your journey.  And if you look around there is certainly lots to be thankful for!  Happy Thanksgiving 🦃